Tuesday, 15 July 2014
Just over a week ago I was on a high having completed my first triathlon www.triathlonpink.co.uk
One week on and unfortunately I can't wear my prosthesis due to problems with my residual limb.
Many would attribute these issues to the above, but in actual fact I felt totally fine the day after, not even a twinge (I was shocked too as it was fun but HARD work!).
The reality is it comes with the territory or as I like to say 'it's an occupational hazard'. Whenever someone has had a limb amputated and wears a prosthesis there will always have to be an interface between the two and this is where the problems begin. However well fitting a limb is it only takes some warm weather, a little chaffing and the skin has broken down, then gets infected and wham you can't wear it for days. Sometimes you can patch it up like below but even at times with this much 'padding' it is literally still agony to put weight on it :(
I realised that this is something us amputees have to deal with on a semi regular basis and to be honest the sooner you accept that, the easier it is to deal with. I am a pro on crutches (should be after 22 years!) only last night when I was leaving cubs after their American Football session (which I wasn't participating in incidentally ;-) I went to return to the car and found I had to go over a small fence...which I had obviously come over on arrival but never noticed! I guess I was too preoccupied by my daughter telling I was 'sooooo embarrassing' after I had opened the car window and politely asked the parent who just parked in the disabled space....as there were no others free(?!!) .... If he had a blue badge. I think you can guess the answer. He did move with no further dialogue.
The thing that hits me hardest is that you so easily and quickly forget how hard it is managing on the crutches or in the wheelchair. I use a wheelchair morning and night when I remove my leg, but only briefly. You forget how hard it is to do all the things you take for granted day in day out. Helping Joe in and out of the car seat, standing putting fuel in the car, preparing a meal, emptying the dishwasher, trying not to slip in the pool changing room, carrying shopping, icing a cake, not to mention working....to name but a few. It's hard not to get frustrated and cross. It's not even using my chair, you can adapt to that, it's because it's such a change. One day, fully independent the next, far from it.
I wonder why I'm still surprised by the issues we face when trying to use a chair, whilst out and about. I tried to follow Sean into Costa Coffee on Sunday but couldn't as there was no dropped curb, except leading into a disabled space that a car was parked in. Now that DOES make me cross when I'm prevented getting my caffeine fix!!
Then the reaction you get when pointing out to the manager at Guiseley Zoo (AKA Pets at Home) that it's virtually impossible to enter without going all the way along on the road/car park to the next store because of the bird tables, rabbit hutches and charity collection blocking the path. And not being able to hold your 3 year olds hand and push while in this situation. 'Well it's not usually like that!' Errrr well it is today!! Exhausting just dealing with all that sort of crap.
And maybe one of the hardest, most wearing aspects is dealing with others reactions and questions. Don't get me wrong I'm not 'touchy' about my situation and always more than happy to explain to the child in the playground where my leg has gone and why I'm limping or wearing a blade. Children are naturally curious and honest and that is great. They are also far more accepting than many adults.
This isn't the first and won't be the last time I am in this situation. In fact I need surgery on my 'sound' hip due to damaged cartilage :-/ which could see me using a chair for a few weeks.
I shall leave you with an image of one advantage of not being able to wear my leg when attending Joe's gymnastics class with him today. It was the final session of term and bouncy castle....and somersault time!! :-)